Why did Florida Gunman Kill Six People?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 27 2013 6:00 PM

Police Struggle to Figure Out Why Florida Gunman Killed Six People

A 43-year-old man began a deadly rampage Friday night from inside his own South Florida apartment. By the time a SWAT team stormed his apartment complex and fatally shot him eight hours later, Pedro Alberto Vargas had set fire to his apartment and fatally shot six people in and around his building in suburban Miami. Why? No one knows.

"Nobody seems to know why he acted the way he acted," Hialeah Police Department Spokesman Carl Zogby told reporters. The rampage began at 6:30 p.m. Friday, when Vargas apparently set fire to his apartment, reports CNN. As the two building managers—a couple from Colombia who were a month away from celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary—went to see what was happening, Vargas fired as many as 20 shots, killing them, reports the Miami Herald. Vargas then opened fire at rescue workers, and shot and killed a man who was walking with his son across the street. He then proceeded to shoot out a door at an apartment in his building and killed the three tenants inside.

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Vargas took two people hostage but they were both rescued when the SWAT team stormed the building. Police are investigating whether Vargas had a dispute with the building management, which so far seems to be their only lead as far as a possible motive is concerned, notes the Associated Press.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.